Court may rule on partisan gerrymandering - but maybe not

The state is one of several battlegrounds where Republicans and Democrats fought to a virtual draw in last year's presidential election, but where Republicans enjoy election districts that have given them a almost 2-to-1 advantage in the state Assembly.

The Supreme Court indicated on Monday that it will hear what could become the biggest and most significant election law case in years: a partisan gerrymandering case from Wisconsin whose final outcome will affect elections across the country for decades to come.

States redraw districts for House seats in Congress and for legislative districts in state legislatures.

"Texas is one of the states that has high partisan bias on its congressional map, mainly because it has not created enough Latino opportunity districts, and that has both a racial impact and a partisan impact", Li said.

The issue will be briefed and argued in the Supreme Court term that begins in October.

Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

The issue has torn the court for decades. He said: "I am thrilled the Supreme Court has granted our request to review the redistricting decision and that Wisconsin will have an opportunity to defend its redistricting process".

Every 10 years following the census, states redraw the boundaries of legislative districts to account for population changes, so that the number of people living in each district is about the same.

One of the factors that the court considers in putting a lower court ruling on hold is whether there is a fairly good chance that the lower court will be overturned, when a decision is made by the Justices.

It will be the high court's first case in more than a decade on what's known as partisan gerrymandering.

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A lower court struck down Wisconsin's districts ordering new maps draw in time for the 2018 elections. However, the Supreme Court has recently struck down district maps in states that, in its view, went too far in using race to draw district lines.

Wisconsin Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel welcomed the justices' decision to hear the state's appeal and called the state's redistricting process "entirely lawful and constitutional".

Democrats have accused Republicans of taking improper actions at the state level to suppress the turnout of minority voters and others who tend to support Democrats and maximize the number of party members in state legislatures and the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Austin and most of Travis County easily could be its own congressional district", Li said.

Rep. Peter Barca, Wisconsin state Assembly Democratic minority leader: "Voters should be able to choose their representatives, not the other way around, and I have faith that the Supreme Court will do the right thing to help end the bad polarization we see in both Wisconsin and across America".

But Republicans have more to lose because they control so many more state legislatures. For example, in 2012, the Republican party received about 49% of the vote but won 60 of 99 seats in the state assembly.

In the 2004 case of of Vieth v. Jubelirer, the court split five different ways and could not agree on a test to determine when gerrymandering crosses a line of excessive partisanship.

The measurement could appeal to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has said he is willing to referee claims of excessively partisan redistricting, but only if the court can find a workable way to do so.

"So they compare that district-by-district to the statewide total, and that gives them this efficiency gap measure". It said redistricting efforts were unlawful partisan gerrymandering when they sought to entrench the party in power, and had no other legitimate justification.

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